Secrets to Success, Part 2, by Stephen Ruffin

Surround yourself with good.

Sometimes we overlook one of the most obvious avenues to success. Never underestimate the importance of the people surrounding your life or the influence they have on you. The cold hard truth is that some people suck.

You know the ones I am talking about here. I’m talking about the individuals that take more than they give. The people in your life right now that whine, complain, and are not happy with themselves, so they seem hell bent on making others unhappy — those individuals that seem to have a black cloud of doom surrounding them every day. They are systemic poison, and they affect your success.

The Lone Ranger had Tonto. Batman had Robin. Han Solo had Chewbacca.

Bob Hope had Bing Crosby. Elton John had Bernie Taupin. Peanut butter has jelly. Wine has cheese. Ben has Jerry.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/523/70791862/files/2014/12/img_6511.jpgFish has chips, and the list goes on. You see where I am going with this right? Good things happen when you surround yourself with good.

Success demands hard work, heart, character, integrity, and the ability to persevere and accomplish a goal and see it through to a successful conclusion. When those around you continually take more than they give, it creates an emotional deficit.


I am a very lucky man. I have been married a long time. My wife, Karen, could and should be nominated to sainthood for enduring me all these years. About two years ago at the urging of my wife, I began a lifestyle and fitness quest to change my downward health spiral. I began to get serious and enjoyed the lifestyle change. I became a triathlete and marathoner.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/523/70791862/files/2014/12/img_6519.png I have always been a competitive person, and as I improved I started to analyze my goals and my path to success and the changes I needed to make to reach my new goals. I realized as my abilities and fitness improved, my happiness and overall outlook improved too. Endorphins are the great benefit of exercise.

I began to realize that there were a few individuals in my life that demanded much more attention and effort than most. These were the complainers; those that for whatever reason, will never be happy.

I began to make an effort to surround myself with positive, uplifting people. I slowly distanced myself from negativity.

Those that were negative found someone else to latch onto and infect. Make no mistake, they are a systemic poison and they will have a negative effect on you if you continue to let them. I chose to not let them anymore.

I also recommitted myself to my wife. My wife is the person that has always been there for me. She is the person that believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I realized she was like a desert flower.

With rain and sunshine as nourishment, the desert flower grows and flourishes. Without the rain and sunshine it lays dormant and eventually dies given enough neglect. The more positive attention I gave, the greater our relationship grew. I love my wife more today than I did yesterday and much more than I did the day before. Positive thoughts beget positive actions. Positive actions improve your life and those around you.

Whatever your life goal is, do not underestimate the effect the people you choose to let in your life have on you. You can make positive changes with commitment. Sometimes it’s as simple as being positive.

Love Gently Live Justly Race Hard


Stephen Ruffin lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with his wife Karen. They have two grown children. Stephen and his wife embrace the multi-sport lifestyle. Stephen is a Boston Marathon qualifier, Ironman, and All World Athlete. He is avid about the sport of triathlon and credits the sport with reclaiming his health. He is sponsored by TriBike Transport and competes on Team TBT.

He can be reached on his Linkedin page under: Steve Ruffin. Or you can reach him via email at

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